Physical fitness has become key in the modern age, and many people are embracing the need for healthy living. Being fit helps control your weight, reduce the risk of disease, improve mental health, and the ability to carry out daily activities.
Besides going to the gym, jogging, and biking, swimming is one of the best physical activities for cardiovascular exercise and helps you build endurance. If you want to monitor your swimming performance, a waterproof fitness watch is of great help.
One crucial feature of a swimming fitness tracker is water resistance. Since most of your workout activities will be in the water, you need a tracker that can withstand the water depth.
Other factors you need to consider are the ability to track heart rate, stroke count, distance traveled, and more. Here are the 6 best waterproof fitness trackers for every budget and need.
- Best Overall: Garmin Forerunner 945
- Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Watersports: Coros Vertix 2
- Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Heart Rate Monitoring: Garmin Vivoactive 4
- Best Budget Waterproof Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Inspire 2
- Best for Tracking Distance: Apple Watch Ultra
- Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Hardcore Swimmers: Garmin Swim 2
Best Overall: Garmin Forerunner 945
- Premium GPS running/triathlon smartwatch with music
- Download songs to your watch, including playlists from Spotify, Amazon Music, or Deezer (may require a premium subscription with a third-party music provider)
- Performance monitoring features include Vo2 Max and training status with adjustments for heat, altitude Acclimation status, training load focus, recovery time, and aerobic and anaerobic training effects
- Garmin Pay contactless payment solution (available for supported cards from participating banks) lets you make convenient payments with your watch so you can leave your cash and cards at home
- Full color, onboard maps guide you on your run so you never get lost during your workout
- Safety and tracking features include incident detection (during select activities) which sends your real-time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone
- Battery life: Up to 2 weeks in smartwatch mode, 10 hours in GPS mode with music, or up to 60 hours in UltraTrac mode. Display resolution - 240 x 240 pixels
The Garmin Forerunner 945 is one of the best waterproof fitness trackers for swimming. It is one of the few watches that can correctly monitor heart rate underwater, making it a perfect addition for serious heart rate training because it can detect changes more quickly than a sensor on your wrist.
Additionally, it has a built-in audio player, so you can use a set of waterproof headphones to listen to your favorite tunes while swimming. It also offers various monitoring functions specifically designed for swimming, such as distance (with GPS monitoring), pace, stroke count/rate, the stroke distance and efficiency, and calories burned.
There are even more options for pool sessions, including drill logging, auto rest, stroke type identification, pacing alerts, and customized pool workouts (which can be downloaded to the watch over Wi-Fi).
Other features include safety and tracking, sleep score and advanced sleep monitoring, Livetrack, smart notifications, women’s health tracking, and more. This watch is fantastic in the water and out, thanks to the wide variety of other fitness monitoring capabilities and smartwatch features like contactless payments.
Check out the Garmin Forerunner 945 on Amazon.
Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Watersports: Coros Vertix 2
- New interface with three offline mapping options
- More accurate GPS for easier navigation
- Powerful chipset and 20% faster processor
- Solid construction with scratch-resistant bezel
A robust multi-sports watch like the Coros Vertix 2 is an excellent option for swimming, especially if you’re going on vacation and won’t be able to charge it frequently. Whether you’re on foot, on a bike, or in the water, the Vertix 2 can maintain tracking for up to 140 hours with GPS enabled or 240 in Ultramax mode (or all three, with the multi-sport triathlon mode).
The 1.48-inch always-on display is large, clear, and high resolution, making it easy to monitor your training stats quickly. It is largely controlled by physical buttons rather than a touchscreen which is vital for wet hands. The Vertix 2 can track your heart rate correctly while you swim, which sets it apart from most sports watches.
Although it’s a remarkable swimming watch, the original Coros Vertix, which has a better water resistance rating of 15 ATM, is preferable if you like high-speed water activities or high diving.
Check out the Coros Vertix 2 on Amazon.
Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Heart Rate Monitoring: Garmin Vivoactive 4
- Health and fitness trackers include pulse oximeter, respiration, stress, sleep, estimated heart rate, women's cycles, hydration, and more
- Download songs from music providers like Spotify and Amazon Music
- 20+ pre-loaded GPS and indoor sports
- Up to 8 days of battery life
- Safety and tracking features can send your real-time location to emergency contacts
If you’re interested in tracking health data, Garmin Vivoactive 4 is a fantastic pick. Its sensors monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, stress, and energy throughout the day.
Gamin also features preloaded activity apps to track activities such as cycling, yoga, golf, running, swimming, and strength exercises. More features can be added using the Connect IQ smartphone app.
Music lovers can download playlists from Spotify and Amazon music and use Bluetooth headphones to listen to music from their watches. With just a tap, you can get many easy-to-follow animated workouts on your screen, such as yoga, cardio, strength, and pilates.
Additionally, it has a rest timer, a swim efficiency rating, and stroke type detection, which is ideal if you’re interested in a fitness tracker designed exclusively for swimming. The watch, which has a 50-meter water resistance rating, gives details on each swimming interval.
With LiveTrack, you can update your loved ones on how you’re doing throughout a race or other activity. Advanced tracking capabilities on the Garmin Vivoactive 4 include Sleep Monitoring, Activity Tracking, and Stress Level Monitoring.
This implies that it can monitor your sleep patterns, activity levels, and stress levels throughout the day. With these features, you can ensure that you are leading a healthier lifestyle.
Check out the Garmin Vivoactive 4 on Amazon.
Best Budget Waterproof Fitness Tracker: Fitbit Inspire 2
- Includes Free 1-Year Fitbit Premium Trial
- 20+ exercise modes to track fitness goals
- Track the time you spend in light, deep, and REM sleep
- Track your daily activity including steps, distance, hourly activity, and burned calories
- 24/7 heart rate monitoring
- Water resistant to 50 meters
- Up to 10 days of battery life
Fitbit is known for its wireless-enabled wearable technology and fitness trackers. Fitbit Inspire 2 is an excellent choice for budget-conscious users. This watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters, so it may be worn when swimming in a pool or open water. It also features a swim tracking feature that allows you to track laps, hourly activity, distance, and calories burned during a swimming session.
The tracker also has a 10-day battery life and 24/7 heart rate tracking to detect calorie burn and resting heart rate. You’ll also be able to measure your sleep quality every night and receive a Sleep Score to assess how well you sleep. It also has active zone minutes, 20+ workout modes, call, text, calendar, smartphone app notifications, and stimulating challenges and badges.
The Fitbit Inspire 2’s connectivity with the Fitbit app is another fantastic feature. You may use the app to track progress, set objectives, and view your metrics in real-time. It also delivers individualized insights and suggestions to assist you in reaching your fitness objectives.
Check out the Fitbit Inspire 2 on Amazon.
Best for Tracking Distance: Apple Watch Ultra
Apple watches are popular for their sleek design and solid health-tracking capabilities. Their latest release, the Apple Watch Ultra, is no exception. It packs incredible features with unrivaled performance and durability.
The Apple Watch Ultra is an excellent option for watersports enthusiasts who want to track their swimming distance accurately. It’s one of the greatest smartwatches on the market, with a longer battery life than other Apple Watches at 36 hours.
With its waterproof rating of up to 100 m, you can be sure that this watch will keep up with you in all types of swimming conditions. The watch also has built-in GPS, so you can track your swims and see the time and distance you’ve traveled.
It contains additional swimming monitoring capabilities, such as a SWOLF score, which compares your strokes to the time it takes you to swim one length of the pool. For divers, its brand-new Oceanic+ app is a fantastic choice. The Apple Watch Ultra is an exceptional wristwatch with excellent GPS and fantastic fitness tracking, but it is pricey.
Check out the Apple Watch Ultra on Amazon.
Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker for Hardcore Swimmers: Garmin Swim 2
- Up to 7 days of battery life in smartwatch mode
- Records distance, pace, stroke count, and stroke type
- Open-water swim mode
- Includes free online analysis, custom workout creation, storage, and sharing
- Monitors underwater estimated wrist-based heart rate
If you’re a serious swimmer who wants to track your pool and open-water sessions, the Garmin Swim 2 is an excellent choice. The wrist-based heart rate monitor that works underwater is its highlight feature, making it simple to keep track of your efforts throughout exercises.
It automatically measures distance, pace, and stroke count, and has the SWOLF score to track your swimming efficiency. Swim training is made easier with rest timers and drill log functions.
It is suitable for most swimming and snorkeling activities and diving into the ocean and is water-resistant up to 50 meters. It can even be worn when showering and operates in temperatures ranging from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The app lets you see detailed metrics to track your daily workout progress.
The watch monitors your resting heart rate, stress levels, and sleep in everyday life. It can also receive smartphone notifications such as SMS, alarms, and emails, which is ideal if you want to stay connected and updated on what’s happening around you. Its features are useful both in and out of water.
Check out the Garmin Swim 2 on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers For Swimming: Step by Step
When shopping for a waterproof fitness tracker for swimming, you want to ensure you are getting one that matches the functions and capabilities you need, keeps you motivated, and checks all the swimming metrics. The key factors to consider include:
- Water Resistance,
- Battery Life,
- Additional Features,
- Design and Comfort,
Let’s look at each one in more detail.
Since the watch will mostly operate in water, you need one that can withstand the water pressure. Different fitness watches have different water resistance ratings, so be keen to check. Some can handle shallow depths, while others are designed for deeper levels and are suitable for divers.
Most swimming fitness watches come with a water resistance rating of up to 5 ATM, meaning they can resist a pressure of 50 meters, while others are rated at 3 ATM, meaning they resist the pressure of 30 meters and should not be immersed in water.
When swimming, you want to be sure that your watch battery can last your swimming sessions without running out of juice. A long battery life ensures you capture all the swim metrics and monitor your progress, especially during training.
Look for a watch with a battery life of at least seven days or more when in use and, ideally, one that can last even longer in standby mode.
Every watch has different features unique to the model. As technology advances, manufacturers continually upgrade their offerings to meet the demand for comprehensive fitness trackers. For instance, the newest Apple Watch Ultra has significant improvements over the Series 8, such as extended battery life, a larger display, and a new Oceanic+ app ideal for diving.
If you want to monitor your heart rate, select a watch with heart rate monitors to track your heart rate while swimming and provide valuable data on your performance. Garmin Vivoactive 4 is well-rated for underwater heart rate monitoring.
Other features like sleep monitors allow you to monitor your sleep habits and give you helpful advice on getting a better night’s rest. Calendars allow you to schedule workouts and other events to stay organized and on top of your fitness goals.
GPS will enable you to track your route and distance, which can be useful for training and race planning. For comprehensive security, look for watches with fall and crash detection so they can withstand the falls of everyday use.
Design and Comfort
Swim watches come in all styles, materials, and features. You want a watch that is comfortable to wear for long periods in the water and can withstand the elements. You also want a fashionable design that complements your style and attitude. Some are made with robust aluminum casing and rubber straps that offer maximum comfort for long swim sessions.
Good-quality rubber straps are available in various unobtrusive styles that complement most casual and semi-casual outfits. They are entirely waterproof, dry rapidly, and prove incredibly soft and comfortable on the wrist. Rubber’s flexibility allows your wrist to be free for delicate underwater operations, making them very helpful for scuba divers.
Canvas and nylon bands are also options to consider. The face should be large enough to readily read the time and any other data you want to track while swimming. Backlights and digital displays, for example, can help ensure that the watch can be read even in low-light settings.
For most buyers, price is a key determinant of the fitness watches they choose. It is important to consider your budget and what features are important to you before making a purchase.
What to Know Before Buying a Waterproof Fitness Tracker
The first thing you need to know is the purpose of the watch. There is no need to go for the high-end models if you only need to measure your swim distance occasionally. However, if you are keen on training or watersports, you need a robust fitness watch to track vital swim metrics.
If you want to track other activities, such as running, cycling, and walking, ensure the look you go for has all those features. Ultimately, your needs come first before everything else. Write those down before you begin your search.
Using the Best Waterproof Fitness Trackers: What it’s Like
Using a waterproof fitness tracker for swimming can be rewarding and frustrating at the same time. Getting the right watch can feel like having an all-in-one personal trainer and coach on your wrist. You can easily track your swims with metrics like stroke rate, heart rate, calorie burn, and pool lengths.
Some smartwatches also let you access audio coaching or in-app workouts to get the most out of your swim. However, if the watch does not offer some of the features you need, not having all the information you need at the end of your swimming sessions can be frustrating. Other watches have poor displays, so you may not view notifications or emails.
Waterproof Fitness Trackers: What’s new?
There have been several updates to waterproof fitness trackers since February 2023. Some of the more notable updates are:
Garmin Forerunner 945
- Improved bike camera support: The way the Forerunner 945 connects to bike cameras has been improved. It is now easier to record your rides.
- Improved handling of altitude calibration errors: The way altitude calibration errors are handled has been improved. Calibration errors can occur when you are traveling between different altitudes.
- Resolution of reported sudden elevation changes during activities: The issue that was causing the Forerunner 945 to report sudden elevation changes during activities has been resolved.
Coros Vertix 2
- New training mode: The new training mode was designed for ultramarathon runners. It allows you to customize your training plan based on your goals.
- Weather forecast: You will now see a weather forecast for your current location for the next 12 hours.
- Battery life management: You can optimize the power consumption of different features to help extend the life of your battery.
Garmin Vivoactive 4
- Bug fixes: The issue with the watch losing connection to Bluetooth has been fixed.
- Fixed distance accumulation bug related to GPS: The watch was overestimating the distance traveled during some activities. This is now fixed.
- Fixed calorie calculation when swimming: The watch was underestimating the calories burned during swimming activities. This issue is now fixed.
Fitbit Inspire 2
- Fixed inaccurate heart rate readings: The issue of Fitbit Inspire 2 providing inaccurate heart rate readings has been fixed.
- Improved sleep tracking: Sleep tracking is now more accurate because of an update.
- Customizable clock face: Users can now customize the Inspire 2’s clock face and choose from a variety of different clock faces
Apple Watch Ultra
- Higher resolution: The resolution has been increased to 410 x 502 pixels.
- Larger screen: The screen is larger with a diagonal measurement of 1.92 inches.
- Built-in compass: There is a new built-in compass.
Garmin Swim 2
- Improved open water swim tracking: This update improves the tracking of open water swims, making it more accurate and reliable.
- New training plans: There are new training plans for swimming, including a plan for beginners and a plan for triathletes.
- Improved battery life: The battery life has been improved by up to 10%.
Waterproof Fitness Trackers: What’s next?
We can expect companies to continue improving their water fitness trackers. Here are some improvements they might make to their water fitness trackers in the next six to 18 months:
- Improved battery life: Newer batteries with longer battery life are expected as battery technology improves.
- More advanced sensors: Sensors are continuing to get more advanced, and we could see new sensors for things like blood oxygen levels, heart rate variability, and skin temperature.
- Enhanced connectivity: Enhanced connectivity features could include support for Wi-Fi, cellular data, and NFC payments.
- More stylish designs: More stylish designs that are less bulky are likely, especially due to the growing popularity of fitness trackers worn as fashion accessories.
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